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Keywords:

  • mixed anxiety–depressive disorder;
  • anxiety;
  • depression;
  • subsyndromal;
  • primary care

Abstract

The diagnosis of mixed anxiety–depressive disorder, as proposed in DSM-IV, is intended to be useful in settings such as primary care, where low-level anxiety and depressive symptoms may cause clinically significant impairment but are undiagnosable using current criteria. Evidence of the prevalence of this diagnosis is, however, lacking, particularly since the publication of the proposed diagnostic criteria in DSM-IV. Our study examined symptoms of anxiety and depression in 65 primary care patients screened for anxiety and depression while visiting their doctor. Results indicated that of the 37 patients without a diagnosable anxiety or depressive disorder, none had symptoms of depression and anxiety accompanied by interference that the patient deemed significant and attributable to his or her symptoms. These data dispute the need for a mixed anxiety–depression category (beyond mood and anxiety syndromes currently in DSM-IV) in future editions of the DSM. Depression and Anxiety 23:183–189, 2006. Published 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.